What’s Up With Bing Ads?

Frequent readers of this blog, along with my friends on Twitter, know that I have a love/hate relationship with Bing Ads, formerly known as Microsoft adCenter.  I’ve heaped ample praise on them at times – recently, in fact.  I’ve also been quick to applaud their community reps’ involvement on Twitter.

But as many of my online PPC friends can tell you, there are plenty of frustrations with them, too.

In fact, one of the things I kind of hate is that they can’t settle on a name for their product!  They went from Microsoft Search Featured Sites, which I participated in during another lifetime, to MSN Search, to adCenter, and now to Bing Ads.  To read more about the latest incarnation, check out this Search Engine Watch article.

During each incarnation, Google Adwords has been Google Adwords – no rebrand needed.

So why can’t Microsoft make up their mind on a brand?  It’s a mystery to me.

Let’s talk about the new Bing Ads for a minute.  It’s getting a lot of press, even meriting a writeup in Forbes, of all things (although their article is pretty lame).

The new Bing Ads has several improvements, earning praise from me:

  • Both the interface and the new Bing Ads Editor have a clean, easy-to-use feel.  With every relaunch, Bing gets closer to Google Adwords, which is what many of us have asked for all along!  Tabs, features, and common tasks are all where you’d expect them to be in the new release.  That’s great, and it saves time.
  • Bing is finally moving towards using “normal” keyword-level destination URLs, instead of those confusing Param1 parameters!  Actually, the parameters were one feature that Microsoft has had for a long time that Google lacks – but it was so confusing that few advertisers took advantage of it.  Now, it’ll be easier to understand.
  • “Import from Google Adwords” functionality built right into the interface.  Imports were already easy with the Desktop tool, but now you can import from the online UI, too!

Bing Import from Adwords

These improvements are welcome, to be sure.  But of course, with the good comes the bad:

  • The online UI times out too fast.  I’ve noticed it timing out in as little as 30 minutes, whereas in the old UI, I could stay logged in nearly all day without it timing out.  Also, there’s a bug in the new UI that logs you out if you click on the “Home” tab.  More on this in a few.
  • Both the online UI and the Desktop/Editor tool are still slow, especially on first load.  The Editor tool takes probably 20 seconds to open the first time, although once it’s open, tasks load quickly.  Still, it’s frustrating to sit there and wait 20 seconds just to look at one keyword, or budget, or bid.
  • The Editor tool, while improved over previous versions, still has weird error messages and quirks.  Copying an ad still returns an error.  And making changes to said ad without tabbing to another field results in the loss of all the changes you just made.  Not good.

Now for a rant.  Brace yourselves.

What the heck has happened to Bing Ads support?!?  As I mentioned earlier, great support was one of the huge positives about using the old adCenter.  They were active on Twitter, they responded quickly, and they generally seemed to care.

Since the release of Bing Ads, things have changed.  Take a look at their Twitter feed now:

Bing Ads Twitter

It’s all just the party line – more like a typical corporate “content pushing” Twitter account than an interactive, “we care about our customers and are here to support them” Twitter account.

In fact, I tweeted to them about the Home link issue I mentioned earlier, and the response I got was “Sorry, we can’t troubleshoot via Twitter – please contact support.” Boo!

I didn’t contact support.  And I’ll tell you why.

About 6 weeks ago, I had several problems with the old Desktop tool:  issues with spreadsheet imports, duplicate ad errors, and other problems.  I contacted support, and they were very responsive.

Too responsive, in fact.

The interaction began with the rep asking me to send screen shots of the errors I was seeing.  OK, I can understand that – once.

But it didn’t stop there.  Not only did the rep ask me to take additional screen shots of nearly every action I was taking in Desktop, they also wanted me to:

  • Uninstall and reinstall Desktop (an hour-long process, at least)
  • Remove and re-add all of our clients
  • Run an error diagnostic process and send them the resultant export file

I mean, come on.  Really?  I appreciate their efforts in fixing the issues, but I felt like I was the technician here.  Why should I have to create umpteen screen shots and run diagnostics?  Maybe this would make sense if I was the only person with this issue, but I can’t imagine that’s even possible, given all the comments I’ve heard on Twitter about Desktop frustrations.

But wait, there’s more. It gets worse.

Not only did I have to do all this work, the adCenter/Bing rep called or emailed me every day.  Every. Day.  Wanting to know if I’d made those screen shots yet. Or if I’d uninstalled and reinstalled.

Seriously?

I don’t hear from my boss this often.  It was like a crazy work assignment.  A work assignment just so I could use a tool that’s supposed to – yes indeed – help me DO MY WORK.

Why, Bing Ads?!?

Why did a simple call to support have to turn into a huge assignment for me?  All I was trying to do was add a few ad groups to Bing Ads – ad groups which have since spent maybe $3 total.  Was that really worth the hours of effort on my part?  Is $3 really worth daily calls and emails from the tech person at Bing Ads?

I know I’m not alone here.  I’ve heard from people who’ve given up on Bing Ads entirely because it’s just not worth all the effort it takes to spend $3.

The frustrating part is, I do like Bing Ads.  We get good results for our clients that use Bing Ads.  I meant everything I said in that SEW post.  I really like their community reps, too – I genuinely do.  But this experience has soured me on Bing Ads again.

What about you?  Do you have a love/hate relationship with Bing Ads?  Or do you just love them or just hate them? How can they improve?  Share in the comments!

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Comments

  1. OMG! I had the same experience. They made me to tons of work for THEIR problem. In the end I gave up too. Not worth the $12/month spend. I miss the Adcenter Twitter handle too. It was cool having them involved in #PPCChat.

    • Melissa Mackey says:

      See, I knew it wasn’t just me! On the one hand, I like that they respond quickly when you contact them with an issue; on the other hand, if I had that much time I’d fix it myself! Thanks for commiserating!

  2. testmyadsl says:

    I created my companies yesterday at bing ads and still have no clics / impressions !!!

  3. Microsoft AdWorst says:

    The Bing Ads (I would call them AdWorst) are a huge joke and if my parents would not have properly raised me I would find some real rude words for it. I don’t want Microhard to pick up a single percentage of marketshare in search, because it would make the world a horrible place!

    I was so happy when I got my first Bing access, but then all of a sudden got really frustrated over it and here’s why:

    a) My username doesn’t fit the login box for Bing Ad Editor (max 21 chars)
    b) The Ads API request form is dead, there are only error pages
    c) The filter in the Bing Ads management UI gets removed all the time
    d) The Google AdWords Import doesnt work – although I allowed in Google
    e) FAQs and help section is offline/ doesn’t work
    f) Where is the import file specification for the CSV?

    Even simple things don’t work.

  4. I have been trying to update an old Bing Ads account to match what we have in AdWords and it has been a time consuming nightmare. I have had four customer service people working on the account in the last week (when I can get a hold of one). I find a lot of the time the UI can’t do bulk changes to the degree their Editor can, my Editor seems to always be occupied syncing accounts for hours and hours if not days. Half the time the support just ends up doing the changes on their end

    There are a bunch of arbitrary limits and levels of bureaucracy to fight through with Bing Ads. For instance, why is the default number of accounts only 6? I had to be on the phone for a half hour to get that “upgraded.” Also, why do editorial board approvals take so long?

    At least I am learning a great deal of patience.

  5. Is anyone else having an issue with keywords not being imported for certain campaigns? I imported 6 campaigns and only 3 imported all the keywords. Everything else is there besides the keywords?!?! I was told to import them manually, but I have literally thousands and I am not importing them all one by one or by CSV and having to change the keyword type for each! About to give up and very frustrated!

  6. Apparently “Prc LLC Cutler” handles Bing’s support. Nice enough these days (and don’t bristle when I mention Adwords, like they used to), but yesterday I taught the tech “advisor” how edit/add a broad match modifier in their Editor.. He told me to download to excel (that’s nonsense..), You can edit in their editor. so basically I instructed him how to do it. (that’s what I call them for??) Regardless I have yet to receive any decent help/instruction from the Google Adwords team either. They are useless except to take your money, hem and haw, and string you along.

  7. It’s nice to read about someone else’s frustrating experiences with Bing Ads. I’ve contacted them in the past with problems and they seriously love putting you, the customer of Bing Ads, to work. I spent several hours working with a support person to get things resolved and eventually it was, but didn’t require me to spend half my day assisting them fix their product – with no thank you for compensation :)

    However, I will give them credit where credit is due, they are responsive and willing to fix things. Just clear your day’s schedule.

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